iphone selfie

iphone selfie1

tag! ich bin das iphone von pghRower. i am gold & 5s and if i were to choose a cultural identity, would like to be deustch. but i am technology thus i am a citizen of the world / pretty much how i consider myself too \ i can tell that pghRower is crazy about me – letting me have a selfie on this blog! wooo! it must be because in this incarnation, we are much more intimately linked. literally imprinted in me / i was quite fascinated from the moment my thumbprint was scanned to the fact that it actually works \ fingerprint technology like my passcode encryption is the harbinger of things to come especially in mobile. and it makes perfect sense. mobile devices are small, handy, goes everywhere with you = personal biology in personal technology / that’s where we’re headed

pghRower also loves that i am good-looking, slim & sleek, and nice to touch \ i am certainly favorably biased to those qualities | looks & feel do matter so good for you! / my screen resolution & pretty much my every feature are magnitudes better than my predecessor iphone3. the bar is somewhat low but the point is pghRower loves me, can’t function without me / i admit that i would be lost & in despair without 5s \ and yes the camera takes sharper pictures and has great filter & edit features \ i have siri too but pghRower does not seem to care for her / no i don’t but maybe if it were michael stipe talking \ can’t have it all but you’ve got indestructibility, viral immunity & better privacy control with me / that’s what i like best about the iphone | 5s & i will be happily together for two years and then on to its next incarnation \ sehr gut!

the virtue of competitive sports

fast pools

one of the most apparent differences between our educational system vs. asian countries is the greater importance we give to sports than academics / significant time & resources are channeled to sports in schools & colleges \ our society expects no less and parents enthusiastically sign up their children starting at pre-school in at least one sport / on the other hand, i grew up in a culture & educational system that emphasized academics over & above other pursuits \ and so i have had to balance my belief that a strong academic foundation is significantly more important than excelling in sports with the need to accommodate the norm

happily, my favorite young athletes who are passionate about swimming are also good students and well-rounded, really nice persons / the swim season started last month \ they’ve already gone to away-meets in cleveland and a “fast” meet is upcoming this weekend at the university of pittsburgh trees hall / they attend swim practice 5 to 10 times a week | one is at the pool at 5:30 a.m | impressively, they swim 5 to 7 miles on a typical practice day! \ on top of that, they are violinists in the school orchestra and their grades are mostly A’s / an aside:  they are not unique in what they do, their peers in school pretty much carry similar loads of activity 

competitive swimming has instilled in them virtues that some adults would take a lifetime to acquire or not / self-motivation, self-confidence, determination, perseverance, strong work ethic \ moreover, the demands of being an athlete have all encompassing benefits to their physical and mental well-being & health <a plus with swimming is the lower chance of serious injuries compared to other sports>

our dismal performance in international academic tests* does not bother me as much as it used to / because i know that there are many factors that contribute to our youth’s success \ it will not hinge solely on academic prowess / equally important are creativity, innovativeness & independence of spirit <fostered by rich & challenging experiences> and the virtues that participation in competitive sports bestow
* subject of 12/4/13 blogpost much ado?

art & the city

i am a big fan of public art / i look for them in any city i visit or live in \ a neighborhood with public art that is alive & vibrant is a healthy & engaged neighborhood | a good place to live, work & play

the atlantic cities has kept tab of some of the most interesting and eye-catching public art around the globe:   a challenging way of playing rubik’s cube / as protest for dismantling public swimming pools, a sculpture of condoms filled with lights and blue water \ this one uses fire | unhappy residents use molotov bombs to protest the 2020 summer olympics / 1.8 miles of LED & 25,000 individually programmed lights for the bay bridge \ you’ll find your way home with these whimsical lighted clothespins / park trees are given a screaming attitude


< links to the others can be found in the giant rubik’s cube page >

let me count the days

calendars for 2014

one of my favorite end-of-the-year rituals and there’s only one other: first night!> is selecting next year’s calendars <one for home, another for the office> / for the second year in a row, i’m taking the gig posters again for my office calendar \ i still buy cds not just to keep a physical record of the music but for the album covers / the artwork usually captures the essence of a band’s recorded music at a stage in its career \ a gig poster conveys much the same thing but it is the band “live” for a moment and place in time

for home, my favorite young people wanted the calendar of optical illusions by gonsalves which we also had for two years in a row a few years back / it was intriguing in the first year | by the second year, i found it alternately creepy and kitschy / so instead, i selected the work of the belgian surrealist rene magritte* \ i think surreal art will be as intriguing as optical illusions

*magritte is referenced in godel escher bach, subject of the 10/27/13 blogpost some reading to catch up on

much ado?

much ado?

the latest results of the programme for international student assessment < pisa > once again reminds us that we suck in math and science / while my colleague who is asian like me gets riled up in frustration with news such as this, i have resorted to creative pondering | are we placing too much stock on these tests?  \ despite our youth’s mediocre performance for the past 50 years, the u.s. has driven the digital & information technology innovations of the past decade | with profound consequences to the world or to be more dramatic, to humankind / the atlantic article below expresses similar sentiment


there is an indomitable creative & innovative spirit in this country that is unparalleled elsewhere \ i do not mean to rationalize our mediocre performance and it’s imperative that we radically improve our educational system / but we should also recognize that equally, if not more important, are the qualities of creativity and innovativeness that has served us so well \ formal schooling alone does not bequeath these qualities / rather our culture of individualism & independence engenders this bold, pioneering ethos that continues to propel us forward despite our academic failings

and my proposed short-term solution as a hedge to our math/science problem:  grant u.s. citizenship to newly minted phds in the math | science | engineering fields and provide incentives for them to live & work here

chasing the blues

lisa simpson

i get the blues < deep blues > during winter & the holidays and even worse when i am sick / my refuge is playing classical guitar \ i had many hours to do so recently and for quick gratification i used guitar tabs / easy baroque pieces  for classical guitar delivers on its title \ the arrangements do not sound oversimplified yet they really are easy to master / and after having a couple of tries learning the difficult lute < which frustratingly would not stay in tune > going back to the guitar restored my confidence

i like the guitar because it sounds good with any genre and you can choose the appropriate type to suit you < classical * acoustic * electric * bass * 12-string > \ the skills for guitar playing are also translatable to any fretted instrument such as the lute, uke, mandolin and banjo / and it’s easy to learn especially with tablature

try these pieces < for a quick lesson, google guitar tablature and go on youtube for a quick tutorial >  one is from the 17th century and the other from 2002 / somewhere in this post, the titles are revealed


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